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ON THE TRACKS This week's events



Published: Sun, April 6, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



NASCAR WINSTON CUP

Aaron's 499

Schedule: Today, qualifying (Speed Channel, 4 p.m.); Sunday, race (Fox, Noon).

Track: Talladega, Ala., Superspeedway (tri-oval, 2.66 miles, 33 degrees banking in turns).

Race distance: 500 miles, 188 laps.

Last race: Ryan Newman passed Dale Earnhardt Jr. with 10 laps to go and went on to win the Samsung/RadioShack 500 to become the seventh different winner at Texas Motor Speedway. Earnhardt edged Jeff Gordon in a photo finish for second.

Last year: Dale Earnhardt Jr. prevailed in a four-lap shootout and won the Aaron's 499 Sunday -- his second straight win at the track.

Fast facts: Matt Kenseth holds a 155-point lead over Kurt Busch for first place in the point standings. ... Earnhardt Jr. finished 42nd in his first start at Talladega. In his five races there since, he has finished 14th or better, including victories in the past three races.

BUSCH SERIES

Aaron's 312

Schedule: Saturday, race (Fox, 2 p.m.).

Track: Talladega Superspeedway (tri-oval, 2.66 miles, 33 degrees banking in turns).

Race distance: 312 miles, 117 laps.

Last race: Joe Nemechek won his second race of the season at the O'Reilly 300, crossing the finish line under caution in an event marred by two red flags and eight other caution periods at Texas Motor Speedway. Nemechek was in front on the restart on the 196th of 200 laps after the second red flag, brought out by a chain-reaction accident that involved 15 cars and caused a 22-minute stoppage.

Last year: Jason Keller avoided a wild pileup that involved most of the 43-car field, then held off a strong challenge from Stacy Compton to win the Aaron's 312.

Fast facts: Nemechek is the first repeat winner this season, in which all six races this year have been won by Winston Cup regulars. He has 14 career Busch wins. ... Brian Vickers led a race-high 87 laps last week, but was black-flagged for passing Chad Blount before crossing the line following one of the nine cautions. The 19-year old driver was later knocked out of the race following an accident.

FORMULA ONE

Brazilian Grand Prix

Schedule: Saturday, qualifying (Speed Channel, Noon); Sunday, race (Speed Channel, 12:30 p.m.).

Track: Interlagos, Jose Carlos Pace (road course, 2.671 miles), Sao Paulo.

Race distance: 192.02 miles, 71 laps.

Last race: McLaren recorded its second win in as many races this season after Kimi Raikkonen won the Grand Prix of Malaysia on March 23, 39 seconds ahead of second-place Rubens Barrichello. Three-time defending champion Michael Schumacher finished off the podium for the second straight week after placing sixth.

Last year: Michael Schumacher escaped a first-lap crash unscathed and went on to win the Brazilian Grand Prix, his second victory of 2002. Ralf Schumacher, who beat his brother at Kuala Lumpur the previous week, mounted a late challenge and finished .588 seconds behind.

Fast facts: From 1994-98 and in 2000 and 2002, the winner of the Brazilian Grand Prix went on to win the series title. ... Michael Schumacher finished in the top three in 10 of the last 11 Brazilian Grand Prixs, including four victories.

NHRA

SummitRacing.com Nationals

Schedule: Saturday, qualifying, 10 a.m. (ESPN2, 10:30 p.m., tape); Sunday, eliminations, 1 p.m. (ESPN2, 11 p.m., tape).

Track: The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Last event: Brandon Bernstein won for the second time in just three races by capturing Top Fuel at the Mac Tools Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway on March 16. Gary Densham took Funny Car after teammates John Force Jr. and Tony Pedregon were eliminated in the earlier rounds while Kurt Johnson won in Pro Stock.

Last year: Larry Dixon won the Top Fuel category for the third time in 2002 at the SummitRacing Nationals. Gary Densham defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. in the Funny Car final while Ron Krisher won in Pro Stock.

-- Associated Press




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